Archived Story

Historic marker to honor Danville athlete

Published 12:07pm Friday, July 5, 2013

David Donald “Dave” Albritton, a 1936 Olympics silver medalist and world record holder in the high jump, will be enshrined on his native soil Fri., July 12, at 10 a.m. with the unveiling of a historic marker in the Danville community.

The marker is located about one mile east of Danville High School next to the Orr Cemetery and near the Danville Post office. It will be unveiled by State Senator Arthur Orr. Among those attending the dedication will be State Tourism Director Lee Sentell, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Morgan County District 2 Commissioner Randy Vest.

Hartselle history buff and historical writer Tom Roberts petitioned the tourism department to recognize Albritton with a marker after discovering that he lived in Danville as a young boy and went on to achieve amazing success in athletics as well as education and politics while living in Ohio.

He and Olympic great Jesse Owens, who grew up in nearby Oakville, were friends from childhood. Both attended East Technical High School in Cleveland, Ohio; both attended Ohio State University on athletic scholarships; both were members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity; both competed in the 1936 summer Olympics; and Adolph Hitler snubbed both of them when they were awarded their medals.

Albritton and Cornelius Johnson both cleared 6’-9 3/4 in the 1936 Olympic trials in New York City, setting a world record and becoming the first blacks to hold the world record in high jump. Albritton captured the silver medal with a jump of 6’-6 ¾ that same year.

He won or tied for seven National Amateur Athletic Outdoor titles from 1936 to 1950. He was the AAU outdoor champion in 1937, 1946 and 1947 and tied for three national collegiate titles in 1938, 1945 and1950.

Albritton would later become a high school teacher and track and field coach. He led three of his teams to Ohio state high school championships. He was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1960 as a Republican and served six consecutive terms. He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980. Albritton died in 1994 at the age of 81.

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